Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park / Drawing: Hargreaves AssociatesIn Barcelona last month, a/e ProNet client Hargreaves Associates received the Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Senior Principal Mary Margaret Jones was on hand to collect the 15,000 Euro prize and spoke briefly about the project, which she helped design for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

The park converted an abandoned industrial area of the capital. After years of pollution damage, the riverbank needed rehabilitation, and Hargreaves found a way to do it. At 270 acres, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the largest park created in Europe in more than 150 years.

As Jones said, the goal was to develop the area in a beautiful, sustainable way. Hargreaves Associates collaborated with London’s LDA Design on the innovative master plan. They combined traditional British landscapes with forward-thinking trends in green design. They hoped it would continue to be an asset to the city in the years after the Games had come and gone. The theme of the 9th International Biennial of Landscape Architecture was “Tomorrow Landscapes,” so the olympic park was the perfect candidate for the prize.

Learn more about the development of the park

Watch a short film on the creation of the park posted by the UK Landscape Institute. Or read more about the design at the Hargreaves website:

“The head gardener of the Olympic Park says,”This may have the feel of a Chelsea show garden, where everything has been grown to be at its best for the same limited period of time, but it really isn’t. After the Games, everything will be allowed to flower at its natural time of year. I’ve been a gardener for 35 years and I’d always previously worked on private estates because most municipal gardens are a bit crap. But this park is absolutely stunning.”

Congratulations to Hargreaves Associates! Read more about the award and ceremony at World-Architects.com.

Shout-out Credit:

Leslie Pancoast, CIC, RPLU
Managing Partner
IOA Insurance Services – Pleasanton, CA
Email: Leslie.Pancoast@ioausa.com / Phone: 925-416-7862

Pretty cool that the hardhat-wearing men and women who designed and built the infrastructure of the thirtieth Olympic games received a shout-out last night during the opening ceremonies. They deserved some applause! Just ask ICE president Richard Coackley:

Olympic Stadium - London 2012 Olympics: Who will light the torch at the Opening Ceremony?

Photo: AFP

“Our day-to-day lives depend on the infrastructure around us that is designed, built and maintained by civil engineers – from roads, railways and bridges to energy, water and waste networks. It forms the backbone of society and the economy. But unfortunately it is often only when things go wrong that the work of civil engineers is thrust into the media spotlight.

“The London 2012 Games have changed this – showcasing and celebrating the work of these often ‘unsung heroes’ while at the same time helping the public understand more about what civil engineers do and what a diverse and exciting career it is.

“If anything could excite and inspire young people to pursue civil engineering as a career it’s the Olympic and Paralympic Games – a true feat of engineering in every sense.”

— ICE president Richard Coackley —

Read the rest of London Olympics 2012: Opening ceremony to ‘reinvigorate careers in engineering’ in The Telegraph.

One week from today, a cast of 15,000 will partake in the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in London. Events will be held in a wide variety of structures, both permanent and newly constructed. Depending on which media outlet you consult, some Londoners are proud of the variety of eclectic stadiums which have popped up across the city, while others are displeased with the way these venues have changed the look and feel of their city.

If nothing else, the architectural boom following the winning bid for any Olympics is worth admiring. Firms from all over the globe compete for their designs to be featured in the world’s most-watched sporting event. Interestingly, along with being the first “digital Olympics,” these games are also the most-notoriously privacy-restricted in history: from strict contracts regarding media coverage to bans on private citizens posting photos of the events on social media sites to gag-orders on the architects and engineers who designed and built the stadiums.

The following are a few fun articles about the London Olympic buildings and their creators, inspirations, receptions, and detractors:

Olympics 2012: Innovations going for the gold (Washington Post)

“Innovation goes beyond the athletes to include the venue as well. London 2012’s emphasis on showcasing sustainable green venues for its sporting events may challenge us to re-think public architecture in new ways, just as Beijing’s Bird Nest challenged us to re-think the design of buildings. Who needs air conditioning when you have buildings that use a 100 percent natural ventilation system? (Alright, if you’ve spent any time in the Washington, D.C. area this summer, you might be skeptical about any building that’s air-conditioning free.). Or how about buildings made from recycled construction debris? The London 2012 vision is to re-claim former industrial wasteland in the city by transforming it into a green park area.” Continue reading “London’s Olympic Architecture: Natural Ventilation Systems, Gag Orders, and Extreme Dancing”